Straighten Up!


Posted by RR 4 mths ago

As our daily lives become more and more dependent on technology and our myriad smart devices, modern-day cities such as Hong Kong have witnessed a growing prevalence of back and neck issues.


“In the past, I would say about 70 percent of my work focused on lower back pain and 30 percent on neck pain, but nowadays, the number of neck problems is catching up because of excessive smartphone usage,” says Dr Clarence Leung, clinical director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Center and specialist in neurosurgery at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road.

“The spine is designed to bear the weight of our body in a neutral position, but when we bend forward for prolonged periods of time to use our smartphones, we tilt our center of gravity forwards, straining the muscles and affecting our joints. This easily causes neck and shoulder pain.”

The spine protects our nervous system, which controls most of our bodily functions. A misaligned spine, therefore, can disrupt nerve communication to the organs and affect our overall health and wellbeing. In extreme cases of misalignment, the spine may even develop bony growths, leading to nerve entrapment syndromes, numbness or pain in the limbs, or disc degeneration.

With its wealth of advanced therapies supported by state-of-the-art operating systems, the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Center at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Roadis one of Hong Kong’s leading spine care facilities. However, Dr Leung emphasizes that prevention is always better than cure.To minimize our risk of developing spinal problems, Dr Leung suggests paying attention to our sitting and standing postures.
“You are in a neutral standing position when you lean with your back against the wall and your heels, buttocks, upper back, and back of your head all touch the wall,” Dr Leung says. “When sitting, make sure your shoulders are not rounding forward. Keep your feet flat on the floor, your knees at the same height as your hips, and your hips far back in the chair. If you are using a computer monitor, it should bepositioned at eye level.”

Staying active and adopting good lifestyle habits are also important. “Don’t remain in the same position for too long,” warns Dr Leung. “Even if you have perfect posture, your muscles can still become strained if you sit for hours on end every day.”

Instead, take short breaks every hour – try to walk around or at least stretch your neck and upper back. Dr Leung also recommends doing exercises that strengthen the core muscles, which will provide support to our spine and prevent injuries in the long run.
For further information on this condition, or to be tested, please contact the team at Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong.  

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